The British Medical Journal
On 5 January 2011, BMJ published an article by Brian Deer entitled “How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed”. In the article, (the first of three) Deer noted that much of the data that Andrew Wakefield used was fraudulent.
In an accompanying editorial, BMJ editors said:
“Clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare…. Who perpetrated this fraud? There is no doubt that it was Wakefield. Is it possible that he was wrong, but not dishonest: that he was so incompetent that he was unable to fairly describe the project, or to report even one of the 12 children’s cases accurately? No. A great deal of thought and effort must have gone into drafting the paper to achieve the results he wanted: the discrepancies all led in one direction; misreporting was gross. Moreover, although the scale of the GMC’s 217 day hearing precluded additional charges focused directly on the fraud, the panel found him guilty of dishonesty concerning the study’s admissions criteria, its funding by the Legal Aid Board, and his statements about it afterwards.”
Wakefield’s study has been linked to a steep decline in vaccination rates in the United Kingdom and a corresponding rise in measles cases, resulting in serious illness and two fatalities.
Jo is a Partner specialising in catastrophic personal injury and clinical negligence claims.